The final round of this years championship saw us heading to Brands Hatch for the traditional end of season truck meeting. We arrived on Friday evening and almost immediately lost all feeling in our hands and feet, a feeling we’d regain some time after arriving home on Sunday night 😉 It was a freezing start to what would be a freezing weekend! Still, that’s nothing that can’t be fixed by putting your feet up and catching up with your racing mates….a big bowl of apple crumble and custard didn’t hurt either!
Cold start to the day!
Once we’d dealt with the formalities of signing on and scrutineering on Saturday morning, it was time for qualifying in what was a fairly compact timetable. With this being a truck meeting we had to make our way to the infields assembly area before the trucks were let out for their qualifying session (as the access tunnel is closed when trucks are on circuit). This is a massive pain, especially on an overcast day that was getting worse by the minute. As the teams sat waiting in the assembly area, the track was slowly getting worse and by the time the trucks qualifying session had finished, the Intermarques found themselves out on slicks on a pretty slippery surface.
As the drivers slithered past it was clear that the laptimes would be some distance off a competitive dry time, not that Simon Smith minded as his 1:04.363 lap netted him pole position. He was so delighted he celebrated by bouncing the lime green Z4 down the pitwall at the end of the session! That part certainly wasn’t in the plan so it left Team Autocross with some serious work to do ahead of race one!
Brian was really struggling for grip in the greasy conditions but survived a half spin at Surtees to post a 1:12.276 which would line him up 18th on the 20 car Intermarque grid. (We were also joined by a few entries from the Sevenesque championship this weekend but they would line up as a separate race off the back of our main grid)
It just needs a little tweak! Great work to get the car out and running competitivley!
Back in the Paddock and it was a short turn around before race one, just long enough to refuel and for Brian to make an inspired decision to go with wet tyres. As we waited for the other drivers to arrive in the assembly area it was clear that nobody was quite sure which way to go on tyre choice with a relatively even split of wet and slick tyres in use. Finally, and just in time, Simons hastily repaired Z4 appeared from the pits to take its place on pole position for what would prove to be an exciting race!
Running ninth under the first safety car.
The fun and games began at a slippery turn one where Mike Thurley ended up sideways on in the track at the bottom of Paddock while Chris Ayling got beached in the gravel. Cars scattered either side in avoidance with Brian making up several spots on the run up to Druids, before picking off another three places into Surtees as Ian Hales and Ricky Hunn got into the back of Philip Blackford. Reuben Taylor was also having a grassy moment just up ahead which meant as the safety car came out at the end of lap one, Brian was running in the dizzy heights of ninth!
Waiting for the restart.
When the safety car pulled in at the end of lap three, tricky Ricky made a sneaky early pass before the start finish line but we’ll let him off as he was charging through to an awesome win! Brian spent a couple laps stuck behind Malcolm Harding but made a good pass down the inside into Paddock on lap six and immediately started lapping a solid three seconds a lap faster, in fact damn near as fast as anyone! A couple more fast laps gave Brian a good ten second buffer behind, while also getting him close to making a move on Chris Brockhurst for ninth. (Things I never thought I’d type – Ross)
Unfortunately the field would be closed up though as the safety car was again out on circuit to allow the removal of Lewis Smith’s car from the gravel. With Lewis’ car out of the way the race was underway again, but just when it looked like more places could be gained it all went wrong at Graham Hill Bend as a slight lock up meant a short trip on the grass and with the field now bunched up, four places lost! Gutting! There was just enough time to make one place back before the end but we felt a little hard done by with 13th position. That said it was still a great race and Brian was showing good pace, even relative to the other cars on wet tyres so it’s definitely all positive! Plus we finished, and that’s pretty rare in itself this season!!! You can watch race one on Youtube here.
All aboard for race 2!
Now, not to put a downer on things, but as inspired as Brian’s tyre decision had been for race one, it was as bad for race two. Our only consolation was that Mr.Cheese (Philip Young) also made the same terrible decision to take wets on a near dry circuit….and he was off pole!!!
The first few laps were okay as the track was still mildly damp and greasy, but the cars had soon dried that off which left Brian and Philip struggling and sliding all over the place on their cooked wets. Up at the front Malcolm Blackman demonstrated that the conditions were right with a stunning late race string of low 49 second laps as he swept to the win. Behind him Simon Smith took second place after a great battle with Steve Burrows. These two also moved themselves up to second and third overall in the championship after their strong meeting and a bit of a disaster of a day for Lewis Smith. Still love the way he drives a car though! Meanwhile our race ended early which was a shame but we were quite impressed to manage some 54 second laps on the wet tyres, surely Brians best lap of 53.0 would have been smashed on slicks.
No time wasted at Loram Racing HQ!!!
So that’s it for another season then. We’ll be posting another update soon covering the work we’ll be carrying out on the car this season, and more importantly, just what on earth is going on with the championship and where we might end up racing next season…your guess is as good as ours at present!